Skip To Content
  • Viral badge
  • win badge

16 Things You Should Never Say To Your Kids

Your words carry more weight than you realize.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

1. "Be a man!"


It's important for kids to learn to express their emotions, but statements like this only create those emotionally unavailable people we all know (but love anyway).

2. "Girls/boys don't do that."

Evan Habeeb/Usa Today Sports

You don't want to stop your kids from exploring something they may very well excel at.

3. “I hope someday you end up with a kid just like you.”


It sounds like a clever thing to say, but you're basically telling your kid that the experience of raising them is so miserable you hope they have to suffer through it too.

4. "Your mom/dad is an idiot."


Your partner or ex may indeed be an idiot, but it’s important to remember that you’re talking about your kid’s parent. More than that, though, when you speak this way you’re sending the message that it’s OK to talk about the people in your family this way.

5. "You're the _____ one, and your sibling is the ______ one."


This only puts your kids into boxes that they may want to break out of one day.

6. "Shut up!"

Universal Pictures

No one likes to be told to "shut up," but if you say it enough to your kids they'll eventually start saying it to others.

7. "Why can't you be more like your brother/sister?"

AFP / Getty Images DAVID AKE

This only creates feelings of inadequacy and drives a wedge between siblings.

8. "Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about!"

Parents have been dropping this old chestnut for generations, but it’s basically threatening your kids when you stop to think about it.

9. "Why can’t you do anything right?”

Kids learn through trial and error, but they'll never try anything new if you've made them afraid to try.

10. "There's no reason to be scared. Just do it!"

Getty Images/Design Pics RF Design Pics

Telling your kid there's no reason to be scared doesn't change the fact that they are scared. Instead, try listening to why your kid says they're scared.

11. “That’s what you get for not listening!”

Getty Images Thomas Northcut

You might feel a weird sense of vindication when your kid falls down after you told them not to run in the house, but rubbing it in only creates resentment and ruins a chance for a teachable moment.

12. "You're a bad girl/boy!"


When you say this you're hoping your kid will stop acting up, but all you're really doing is reinforcing the idea that they are bad. You're better off saying something like, "Right now you're not acting like the good girl/boy that I know you are."

13. "I hate my body."

Columbia Pictures

Criticize your body and your kids will learn to criticize theirs. If, however, you project a positive body image, your kids will be much more likely to grow up to be happy with the way they look.

14. "I was bad at math too. You take after me!"

It's easy to feel like your kid is an extension of yourself, but the truth is they don't have to be bad at math just because you were.

15. "Just let me do it for you.”

Flickr: makelessnoise / Via Creative Commons

If we keep brushing our kids' teeth, tying their shoes, or doing their homework, they’ll never learn to do things for themselves.

16. "You look so much better when you..."


You may think you're offering constructive criticism, but it's still criticism, which can have devastating consequences on your kid's self-esteem.

Are you a parent looking for a little help figuring things out — and maybe a laugh about the world's hardest job? Sign up for the BuzzFeed Parents newsletter!